"The Apaddharmaparvan, 'the book on conduct in times of distress', is an important section of the great Sanskrit epic the Mahabharata which, despite its significance for Mahabharata studies and for the history of Indian social and political thought, has received little attention in scholarly literature. This book places the Apaddharmaparvan within its literary and ideological contexts. In so doing it explores the development of a conception of brahmanic kingship morally justifiable within the terms of a debate largely set by various alternative social movements of the period. This book further explores the implications for our understanding of the Mahabharata that follow from the Apaddharmaparvan's presentation as a poetically cohesive unit within itself and within the wider parameters of the Mahabharata."--BOOK JACKET.